Introduction to Character Development Kit in XSI

Efficiently build rigs and learn a customizable approach to character-rigging using XSI's Character Development Kit. Software required: XSI 3.0 and up (XSI 6.5 required for project files).
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Mar 6, 2008
Duration
4h 11m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Mar 6, 2008
Duration
4h 11m
Description

Efficiently build rigs and learn a customizable approach to character rigging using XSI's Character Development Kit. Contains over four hours of project-driven training for artists learning the technical and creative processes of automating and customizing character rigs in XSI. Popular highlights include: CDK Overview; Biped Guide Rigging; Quadruped Guide Rigging; Hierarchy from Guide; Roll Divisions and Skins; Shadow Rigs; Creating Synoptics; Quaternion and Skeleton Spines; Tail Controls; Arms, Hands, and Fingers; Legs and Feet; Torso and Head; Springs; Adding Stretch to Biped Arms; Adding Additional Controls; Biped Motion Tracks, Tags, and Steps; Creating Custom CDK Commands; Pose Constraints; Symmetry Constraints; Creating a Multi-legged Guide Rig; Building Animation Expressions. Software required: XSI 3.0 and up (XSI 6.5 required for project files).

About the author
About the author

Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Sunder has made great headway in both the interactive game design and 3D animation worlds.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
Hello and welcome to Introduction to Character Development Kit, in XSI, presented by Digital-Tutors. An official Softimage training partner. My name is Sunder and I'll be your certified instructor guiding you through the character guide rigging features in XSI. The character development kit, or the CDK in XSI, is a set of commands used to build customized rigs. The guide rigging or the auto rigging features, are based on this particular CDK, and can be used to build custom character rigs, quickly and easily. During the course of the next few hours, we're going to learn how to build these rigs from biped and quadruped guides and study the different creation options available to us. We're going to learn how to build commands, that create individual CDK components, and, or parts of a rig, and also how to use and enhance these components. We're also going to build our own custom CDK guide and rig that can be used for creating multipeds like centipedes, millipedes, and similar insects or creatures. There's a lot of content to be covered, so let's go ahead and begin by looking at the basic workflow. The basic workflow of guide rigging, is actually quite simple. All we have to do is drop in a guide, move the different guide objects around so they fit the proportions of the character, and then we just create the rig from it. Here's how we can do it, so, open up the scene file called 01_workflow from the project files of this training course. What we have in here is a primitive man, if you'd like you can start off in a new file, and drop one in manually, either way is just fine. Now, if we want to drop a guide in we need to go ahead and pull out the character menus. That is found in the animate toolbar, so let's go ahead and switch from model to animate. So we can left click on the model button, and then toggle from model to animate, and if we go to create character, here's where we have all the different objects or options for guide rigging. We want to pull in a biped guide since we're dealing with a character that has two legs so, let's go ahead and bring that in. Just left click biped guide, and it'll bring up a dialogue box that's asking us for different options for the guide that we're using. For now the default settings are fine, let's just hit okay and proceed. Now you may some objects popping in here, it'll be a little bit clearer if you switch from shaded mode to wire frame mode, so you can just middle click shaded, it'll toggle to wire frame and there we have it. Now fortunately for us the biped guide is built off of, or based off of the model man character. So it's basically been proportioned, or set up, so it fits within this character. Once we have our biped guide object set up to fit inside of the desired character, all we have to do is create the rig from it, this is done also via the character menu, so you go to create, character, and click on rig from biped guide. You want to go ahead and do rig from the desired guide object that you pulled in. So if you pulled in a quadruped guide, you would want to rig from the quadruped guide. Not from the biped guide, so in this case since we pulled in the biped guide, you want to click on right from biped guide. Just left click, and now we'll have whole bunch of options that can really define what this rig turns out to be. We have options for the chest, for the belly, head, limbs, and so on, so forth. We'll be going over all these different features in the next few lessons, but for now let's just go ahead and leave everything as is, and hit okay. So, it'll go ahead and execute a bunch of steps, or a bunch of commands to create the rig, based off of the positions of the different guide objects in here. In this manner it's very easy to create rigs, very quickly, just from a simple guide and creating the rig out of it. So the property page that it's brought up here, basically defines a few factors for the biped rig that we created. Now if we deselect, we have our biped rig in action here, now we can start grabbing the different objects and moving them around, and it won't have any effect on the mesh until we envelope it. Fortunately for us all of these biped guide rigs that are created come with an envelope group that we can easily assign to deform our mesh. So to access this, just hit the aide key to bring up the explorer, and the explorer open up the biped model. The biped guide model contains the guide objects, but the biped contains the actual rig itself. If we open it, we can see our envelope group is right here, all we have to do now, is envelope the objects, so select the mesh, go to deform envelope, set envelope, it'll ask "Do you want to use it as an animation operator? ", the answer is yes, and then just select the envelope group from the biped rig we added. Pick it, right click, and it'll do an automatic envelope assignment, and the colors will change here, the points will become color, because they're driven by specific bone objects and now we're ready to move our character around easily, and now, we're ready to start animating. We already have a very full fledged rig in action here. So it comes complete with IK, FK bones. With foot rolls, foot roll controls. It comes with a lot of features, and we can quickly get to animating without worrying about a lot of the technical aspects that come with character rigging. So in this sense, working with guide rigging is very advantageous because we can get to the animation stage quicker, by quickly rigging up our desired objects. All we have to do is drop in the guide, move the guide objects to fit the character and then from there we just create the rig with different options and we take that envelope objects and then have them drive our desired mesh. So right now this worked very conveniently for us since the guide was already modeled or designed to fit within the default man object, in the next lesson we'll go ahead and work with the character that's not necessarily within the same proportions as our man here and we'll take a look at the different steps in proportioning characters.